University Libraries.

Have You Signed the Declaration for the Right to Libraries?

In communities all across the country and around the world, people of all ages and walks of life turn to their local libraries for everything from the hometown newspaper and books on organic gardening, to demographic data and an in depth exploration of factors that lead to the fall of the Roman Empire. For many patrons, libraries provide a much needed bridge over the digital divide, giving them access to essential online resources for everything from finding a job to understanding a medical diagnosis. Time and again, libraries have demonstrated that they play a varied and essential role in their communities.

The American Library Association (ALA) believes so strongly in the fundamental role of libraries, that it has declared having vibrant libraries in our communities a fundamental right. To that end, it has drafted a “Declaration for the Right to Libraries”, a document designed to build public support for libraries of all kinds. In support of these efforts, libraries across the country have been holding signing ceremonies, giving community members the opportunity to publicly declare their support for libraries by signing the declaration.

Last semester, UAlbany librarian Carol Anne Germain worked with the Student Chapter of the American Library Association (SCALA) to host a signature drive on the uptown and downtown campuses. According to Germain: "It was an exciting and positive event which emphasized the value of libraries and librarians, and prompted many signers to comment on how libraries had changed their lives." A total of 1060 people signed the petition! Way to go UAlbany!

If you missed this opportunity to sign in person, don’t fret! Library lovers across the country can sign via the ALA’s website. To date, 5957 individuals have added their virtual signatures. We hope you will add yours.

Of course, we at Dewey love libraries and believe that they are essential to the social, educational and economic life of a community. We have a plethora of resources on libraries and their communities. Here are a few to get you started:

The Atlas of New Librarianship by R. David Lankes. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press; Chicago: Association of College & Research Libraries, 2011. Dewey Library / Reference: Z 665 L36 2011.

The Library as Place: History, Community, and Culture edited by John E. Buschman and Gloria J. Leckie. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited, 2007. Dewey Library / Z 716.4 L485 2007.

Libraries, Community, and Technology by Andy Barnett. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., 2002. Dewey Library / Z 716.4 B29 2002.

Libraries and Society: Role, Responsibility and Future in an Age of Changeedited by David Baker and Wendy Evans. Oxford, UK: Chandos Pub., 2011. Dewey Library / Z 716.4 L465X 2011.

Linking Literacy and Libraries in Global Communities by Marlene Asselin and Ray Doiron. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2013. Dewey Library / In Processing.

Reading Matters: What the Research Reveals about Reading, Libraries, and Community by Catherine Sheldrick Ross, Lynne (E.F.) McKechnie, and Paulette M. Rothbauer. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited, c2006. Dewey Library / Z 1003 R75 2006.

For more information on libraries’ impact, contact Deborah Bernnard, Library and Information Science Subject librarian, at or 442-3699.

Post created by Cary Gouldin.

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